As Honduras prepares for presidential elections this November, those arrested and jailed for protesting widespread fraud following the 2017 elections still face the threat of lengthy prison terms for defending a basic principal of democracy: that the President should be whomever gets the most votes, not whomever the U.S. Embassy decides to recognize.
Starting today, Monday, September 13th, Edwin Espinal and Raul Alvarez are facing trial for charges related to the anti-fraud, pro-democracy protests in 2017. If convicted, they face 15-30 years in prison. Edwin and Raul already were imprisoned for 19 months in a maximum security prison in terrible conditions. The U.S.-backed Honduran state has targeted Edwin and Raul in criminal proceedings full of serious irregularities, including the fact that their trial will be held in a court that legally does not have the authority to hear it. For more about the case and to hear an interview with Edwin, listen to the most recent Honduras Now podcast here.
Take action today! The Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN) is asking people to do two actions:
1. Ask your Congresspeople to contact the U.S. Embassy about Edwin and Raul’s case by clicking here! The U.S. finances and trains the Honduran Public Prosecutors Office, often in the name of fighting corruption, but in reality the Public Prosecutors Office has shown itself to act based on political interests, such in this case.
2. Contact the Honduran authorities and ask them to drop the charges against Edwin and Raul. Click here to participate in the HSN action.
Edwin and Raul are just two of over 180 people who face criminal charges related to the massive demonstrations protesting electoral fraud in the last presidential election. Edwin in particular has been an important part of the Honduran resistance movement for over a decade. He embodies solidarity. When Berta Cáceres needed someone to pick up tortillas and cheese for hundreds of COPINH members in Honduras’ capital city for a protest, one of the people she’d call was Edwin. When the Lenca community of Rio Blanco set up an encampment to defend the Gualcarque River, Edwin took his tent and joined them. When there was a march or a protest, Edwin was there. He was part of efforts to try to stop the privatization of a public soccer field that was one of the few places for youth in his urban neighborhood and defends other public, green spaces in the capital city. He organizes locally and supports movements nationally. As a result, he also has been consistently targeted by the U.S.-backed Honduran state, including having had his home raided by the military police.